New Delhi, May 21, 2020: Giving an update on the Vande Bharat Mission, which started its second phase from May 16, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday (May 21) said that this will include places like Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh city, and Lagos, besides increasing flights to the US and Europe.
The MEA Spokesperson said, "I will now give you an update on the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. We have moved into the second phase of his Mission from 16th May onwards. This phase will last till 13th June. We are looking to bring back our nationals from 47 countries on 162 flights. In this phase, we are including places like Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh city, Lagos, etc, and increasing flights to the USA and Europe. We are also looking at developing Frankfurt as a hub", Zee reported.
Anurag Srivastava said that "We are also receiving our nationals stranded abroad onboard flights from other countries which are coming in to evacuate nationals of those countries. We are bringing back our nationals from far-flung areas like Argentina, South Africa, Peru, Mongolia, etc."
"In fact, a flight from Buenos Aires arrived early this morning at 2.35 am with a total of 62 Indian nationals. About 300 pilgrims from Ladakh arrived on May 17 onboard Mahaan Air flight from Iran. Other flights from Djibouti and Hong Kong have brought in our nationals stranded in those places," he added.
Notably, today is the 15th day of the Vande Bharat Mission. As of today afternoon, 23475 Indian nationals have safely returned under this Mission. They include 4883 workers, 4196 students, 3087 professionals among others.
The statement said that there are 259001 people registered to return from 98 countries, adding "Most of those who have registered to return are workers 28%, students about 25%, professionals 14.5%, short-term visa holders like tourists 7.6%. Then there are others like fishermen, deportees, those granted amnesty, etc."
In terms of numbers, among those with compelling reasons registered to return, 16991 are those facing medical emergencies and8746 pregnant women and elderly persons, the statement said.
Anurag Srivastava further said, "We are also facilitating travel of our nationals as well as foreign nationals on outbound flights under Vande Bharat Mission. Three flights to the UK on 16th, 18th, and 20th May have already left. Two flights have departed to the US on 18th and 20th May. There are four more flights scheduled to the US and two to Frankfurt."
Operations under this very large and complex exercise are going on smoothly. The ministry and its missions are working very closely in this whole of government exercise with the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Home Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, Bureau of Immigration as well as with concerned state governments, Srivastava added.